Moss Landing State Beach
October 14, 2011
Several postings back, click here , I mentioned that I would look to see if I tried to digiscope any of these Avocets. I did. The earlier photos were at 500mm. Here are 4 digiscoped photos. Now, before I get going here, I want to mention that these birds were a very long distance away. I also want to say that it was a warm day, so heat waves distort long distance photos. Here is a technique I use in order to try to get photos like this to be half-way useable.
I was using a Nikon P4 camera mounted on a Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x wide angle eyepiece, tripod – ISO 50, f/5.3, 1/160 sec.
The zoom on the P4 was maxed out as well. The results of a photo at this distance and in these conditions will be very soft (blurry). The first thing I do is crop as large as I can and then reduce the size of the photo to 640 x 480 (landscape view reduced to 450 x 338 on blog – click to get a little larger). A photo this small will sharpen up quite a bit, but I still hit it with one or two sharpens in Photoshop. If I have to use two I’m going to get quite a bit of noise. I can leave the noise or I can use a plugin like Imagenomic to reduce noise. Sometimes I can sharpen the bird and then de-noise just the background. I use the lasso tool to select the bird and then inverse it so everything but the bird will be affected by the de-noising plugin. If I have to de-noise the entire photo the bird will loose detail and look abnormally smooth.
The first photo was hit by 1 sharpen and no de-noising. The second photo was sharpened twice and then the entire photo was de-noised.
De-noised with Imagenomic plugin in Photoshop
The first two photos are the best. When I tried to zoom in more on an individual bird, it was just too much for the camera and Photoshop to deal with. The goal is to take a photo that needs little to no processing in color, sharpness, lighting and cropping. And, you can’t make apples into oranges. The original photo has to have enough useable components to allow Photoshop to tweak it. Photos like these will never be printable, but they can be useful in small sizes on websites.
I know there are some photographers out there that feel this is cheating. But I’m not a professional, I do this for fun, my equipment is not high end, and taking photos of birds is a lot more challenging than taking a landscape photo or portrait of your grandma. I can use all the help I can get.